Mother Teresa’s 113th birthday celebrated in Dubai

Mother Teresa International Award Ceremony was held for the first time in Dubai to commemorate the renowned missionary’s birth anniversary and several people from UAE were proud recipients of this award.

Mother Teresa’s 113th birthday was celebrated in style at the Conrad Hotel in Dubai.  Saint Teresa as she was called, was born on 26 August 1910 and the founder of the Missionaries of Charity which grew to have over 4,500 nuns across 133 countries as of 2012. She worked with the poorest of the poor and received several honours, including the Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize

It all started with All India Minority and Weaker Sections Council, a non-political organization established by Late Prafulla Chandra Sen, former Chief Minister of West Bengal and Mr, Anthony Arun Biswas along with many other dignitaries. The council has been working for the welfare of the weaker sections of the community.  After the death of Saint Teresa in 1997, the council formed Mother Teresa International and Millennium Award Committee and gave them the responsibility to recogniZe and give away awards every year to eminent personalities who have excelled in the fields of Education, Science, Culture, Sports, Social Work, Medicine, Industry and Politics in the country. The award’s chief patron is Former Governor of West Bengal and Former Chief Justice of Calcutta, Justice Shyamal Sen. The award show that dates back 22 years has been conferred on illustrious names such as Dr Manmohan Singh, the former PM of India, Ms Sheikh Hasina- Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Musician and singer, Late Shri Manna Dey , Mr Ajit Wadekar , Coach & Former Captain of Indian National Cricket team, actor Prem Chopra, actor Rajesh Khanna, actor and politician Ms Hema Malini, Late Sri Girija Prasad Koirala – Ex- Prime Minister of Nepal amongst many others.

This is the first time the award show has travelled overseas to Dubai and we had a few UAE residents who were conferred these awards.

Dubai’s own business tycoon and cricket patron, Mr Shyam Bhatia, Patron of the award show addressed the press conference with 4 other panelists that included Dr. T.H. Ireland, Principal, St. James’ School, Kolkata and chairman of the committee. Dr Ireland has had a close association with Mother Teresa and spoke of her compassion and her mission to work with the poorest of the poor. He has an interesting Dubai connection. In fact, his school won the first ever debate competition organised by GEMS Modern school in Dubai a few years ago. He had mentored the team.

The panel included the vivacious Usha Uthup , Bollywood singer known for her career that has lasted over 4 decades has a close associate of Mother Teresa.  She would often visit her and talk to her through her god and bad times and was present at her demise as well as her canonization. Onstage at the event, she and Dubai based Bollywood actor Kalpana Iyer (whose most popular songs have been sung by Usha Uthup), created a beautiful memory of singing and dancing at their songs together.

Philanthropist Mr Ahmad Al Falasi who is called the Hopemaker of the UAE, a title conferred to him by none other than HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Deputy PM of the UAE graced the press conference and the event. Mr Falasi works tirelessly to provide medical aid to people around the world, often bridging the gap between the privileged and the under -privileged. His work in Africa, especially in medical facilities has been commendable and he has helped set up dialysis centres in Mombasa and other African regions. He was also on ground to assist in rescue operations at the recent earthquake in Turkey and continues to be a source of inspiration to us all.

Sacha Jafri Dubai based world renowned artist whose work regularly sells for between $5million USD – $25million USD, with his two most expensive pieces reaching as high as $62million and $105million USD, created a poignant art work onstage. In November of this year, alongside NASA’s 50th Anniversary since last landing on the Moon, history is set to be made as NASA team up with Sacha Jafri, Astrobotic, Spacebit, and Jeff Bezos’s ‘Blue Origin’ on their Lunar mission to place Sacha Jafri’s latest creation as the first Artwork to officially be placed on the Lunar Surface of our Moon. This celestial piece shines an eternal light back on our Earth, inspiring a more hopeful future for the reconnection of all Humanity. Jafri’s Moon-Landed painting, entitled ‘We Rise Together with the Light of the Moon’, is set to break all records when it goes under the hammer later this year at an estimate of a record breaking $105million USD, making it the most expensive work of art ever sold by a living artist.

Some of the proud recipients of the award this year are Sheikh Ahmed bin Faisal al Qassimi, Ahmad al Falasi, Rajiv Sabharwal, Usha Uthup and Sacha Jafri.

The event was well attended by several eminent personalities of Dubai and were regaled by the dance performances of mother-daughter actor/artiste duo Indrani Dutta and Rajnandini Paul.